In the wake of the allied missile strikes on chemical weapon facilities in Syria on Saturday morning, the main questions seemed to be what Russia’s response would be and whether or not the missile attacks signaled a deepening role for the United States in the complicated civil war in Syria.
One question that wasn’t oft addressed, however, was how everyday Syrians responded to the strikes against the Assad regime.
Fox News‘ Hollie McKay was on the ground inside Syria and collected reactions from some of the residents there. While emotions were mixed, the general mood seemed to be in favor of the strike on three Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
“The explosions were so loud,” Obada Alstof, a 21-year-old opposition activist, told Fox News after the attack.
“We had no idea what was happening but we immediately expected that the international coalition was targeting the regime locations.”
“We hope for the future that strikes will expand to include all the Syrian regime and its supported militias’ military locations,” he added, “because the regime and its allies are committing massacres against the civilians every day.”
Said al-Hamawi, a 20-year-old business student in Damascus, says he saw one of the rockets heading to its target before being shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft guns.
“It exploded in the sky. It was very clear. There were far explosions in the sky, but that was the clearest,” Hamawi told Fox News.
“I hope that this attack will achieve almost Assad’s weapons destruction, which will rid the Syrians civilians of weapons that will be used against them.”
Another Damascus resident was more apprehensive.
“Early morning today, I woke up because of the sound of Syrian anti-aircraft. I did not see the explosions but I heard the sounds,” Zilal Mansour, 33, said.
“These were weaker compared to the sounds of shelling in Al-Ghouta, although I knew that military area near my residential ‘Barza’ was being targeted.”
“I did not feel anything, I was not sad or happy. Assad should be punished,” she added. “But would this strike be like the previous one? Or is it for pressing him for political concessions?”
Some residents said that warnings from the Russians made the strikes less effective than they could have been.
“Assad during the previous days transferred many aircraft and weapons from their places to another one. Most of the targeted areas were empty and only the building has been damaged,” said Damascus resident Ayman Bakla, 53.
“Assad came out on the television a little while ago, going to his office with a message to the world that ‘I am fine and your beating did not affect.’”
Other residents were afraid to speak out of the possibility of retaliation.
“If we know the U.S. will stay here long-term to protect us, it is no problem, we can speak freely,” a resident of Manbij said.
“But until then, we don’t know what will happen. We don’t want to see our people killed in retaliation. The situation is too sensitive.”
Overall, however, one can gather that the mood on the ground is not in favor of Assad, whose murderous regime has laid waste to an entire country during seven abominable years of civil war. The fact that Russia and Iran continue to support the regime is entirely indefensible; if they wish that the people of Syria were to truly know peace, they would withdraw their support from this hideous monster at once. It’s a telling sign that Syrians are fed up with both their government and those who would prop it up.
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